Game Review

Moero Chronicle Hyper (2019) [Switch]

moerochroniclehyper

“Would three boobs be better than two?”
-Oliver Markus Malloy, Bad Choices Make Good Stories

 

 

cba1 “The following is a contributor post by the Middle-aged Horror Mage.

If you’ve ever wanted to explore dangerous dungeons with a party of hand-picked scantily-clad monster girls, then Moero Chronicle Hyper may be the Nintendo Switch game for you. Here we have a shiny new “definitive edition” release of the once Japanese Vita exclusive, now available digitally for $19.99 USD, thanks to publisher Idea Factory.

As far as dungeon crawlers go, it forgoes some of the genre’s key features like traps and permadeath, in favor of a more streamlined experience that focuses on crafting the perfect party by way of recruiting once-brainwashed monster girls. There are six labyrinthine dungeons to delve, each with their own theme, monster girls to battle and recruit, and the usual random fodder encounters to grind, and what exists is a fully competent package that’s only likely to turn away genre diehards with its unapologetic fanservice.

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As the story goes, you play as a human boy named Io who absolutely sucks at talking to members of the opposite sex. The world at large is split into three sections — the human-inhabited west, the monster girl-filled Monstopia to the east, and the village of Sekriend in the middle, which was created as a sanctuary for both races to coexist.

Io’s best friend happens to be a monster girl named Lilia, who is the only female he can properly talk to (typical childhood friend stuff). When word arrives in Sekriend that the monster girls of Monstopia have become increasingly hostile, the village elder forces Io to venture forth and investigate. Of course, this means more awkward conversations with the opposite sex, so Io isn’t too keen on his new assignment.

It’s a standard first-person dungeon crawler with an equally typical turn-based battle system, but Io doesn’t fight on his own. Instead, you’ll subdue and recruit defeated monster girls in a weirdly sexual rubbing mini-game after destroying their clothing in combat. Here you’re presented with a static image of the now-nearly-naked monster girl and tasked with ferociously rubbing the screen in order to locate three hidden pleasure spots. Find them, fill the appropriate meter, and the once brainwashed monster girl becomes a party member. And there are TONS of them to recruit.

It’s safe to say that if anime fanservice makes you cringe, you’re better off spending your money elsewhere. There are other dungeon crawlers on the Switch with far fewer boobies and butts, after all. This kind of thing doesn’t bother me, though, but it did prevent me from playing the game in public places unless I was just grinding XP in a dungeon.

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Anyway, you can revisit Sekriend to change your party around, shop for new items, talk with the girls you’ve brought back, change their job class, and/or give them gifts to raise their affinity levels. I recruited new party members at such a fast pace that I often wanted to see what they were capable of, but having to exit a dungeon and return to Sekriend just to shuffle my party around was a huge bummer. I can understand not being able to change job classes, but having to backtrack multiple floors just to test the waters with a new party member? I was not a fan.

In essence, Moero Chronicle Hyper is an easily digestible dungeon crawler aimed at fans of developer Compile Heart and publisher Idea Factory’s catalog of games. If you’re familiar with them, then you already know what to expect here and don’t need my review to make your purchasing decision. It’s important to know that the dungeon crawling and anime tiddy appear in equal measure.

I had a lot of fun with the game as a dungeon crawler that catered to my taste of creating the perfect party by min-maxing passive traits, job classes, elemental weaknesses, and number crunching, but if I weren’t reviewing it I don’t think it’s a game I’d go out and purchase because I like my RPGs to have an exciting story to follow, characters that grow along with the narrative, and fun worlds to explore.

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Moero Chronicle Hyper offers none of those things.

The silly, poorly-translated narrative is riddled with typos and nonsensical conversations, which caused me to barely skim the text in the final act. I had checked out long before that, but I was having enough fun with the gameplay that I always looked forward to loading it back up. It was the perfect pick-up-and-play game while watching TV or listening to podcasts, but failed to check the other boxes that I find important in an RPG.

Let’s dig a little deeper with our 8-bit Review, shall we?

 

 

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narrative Narrative: 2/10

Io is socially awkward around the opposite sex and has to confront this in order to save Monstopia. That’s basically it. None of the characters are interesting (not even the panty-hunting seal mascot) and Io’s motivation never really shifted throughout. Even the unlockable affinity scenes barely did anything for me and felt kind of pointless to work toward.

Moero Chronicle Hyper is a game I enjoyed playing, but not so much experiencing. It’s full of overly verbose dialogue that never really goes anywhere and can honestly be skipped entirely if you just want to get to the dungeon crawling, which is a shame, really, since I usually enjoy Compile Heart’s games and find their stories and characters rather endearing.

gameplay Gameplay: 7/10

This is where 100% of my enjoyment lives. Dungeon crawlers and games like Final Fantasy Tactics have this addictive core that thrives on creating the perfect party that’s either severely overpowered or can overcome any challenge set in front of them. Moero Chronicle Hyper isn’t as deep as some of its sub-genre brethren, but there are certainly a few things to keep in mind when building your party of five.

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Like I mentioned earlier, Io doesn’t really battle himself and doesn’t count as one of the five party members. During his turn, he can use items or store his “desire” that can be built up to 100%. Each turn can raise his desire by 10% but has a chance to fail and return to 0% the higher it goes, so it’s a desirable (get it?!) risk/reward system.

The benefit here is that he can provide his stored desire to a party member, which increases the damage of their next action by the percentage given. Each monster girl party member can even use a “charm” command which adds 30% to Io’s desire pool. For most of my 20-hour playthrough, I used a healer that would act as a charm battery for Io whenever she didn’t need to cast any of her restoration spells. When having an additional damage dealer outweighed the need for a dedicated healer, Io acted as the party’s healer by using items during his turn instead of worrying about buffing a single character with his desire skill.

Combat is your run of the mill turn-based, menu-driven affair where it’s important to target an enemy’s elemental weakness rather than relaxing with auto-battle on. I mean, you certainly could do that if you built your party around heavy hitters with beneficial monster girl traits.

Each girl has two traits associated with them, which provide some sort of benefit as long as a specific condition is met. For instance, girls with the “clumsy” trait boost the health pool of any party member with the “class leader” trait by a whopping 100%. If someone has the “affectionate” trait and their mana pool dips below 60%, they’ll be granted a +25% defensive boost (with a similar -35% damage received buff to anyone with the “tsundere” trait). A lot of traits work with others, like the aforementioned clumsy and class leader, so it’s all about building the appropriate party to fit your desired play style. I liked having double the health pool on my glass cannons, but there were others that focused more on magical damage or after-battle regeneration.

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Recruiting the girls, however, was more annoying than silly. When your party is pitted against a new monster girl (noted on your map with a distinguished marker), you have to attack individual pieces of their clothing in order to get them as naked as possible. Each piece has its own weakness and destroying them all segues to a weird screen-rubbing minigame where you try to find three hidden pleasure spots within the given time limit. You basically tap a picture of the girl until hearts and stars erupt from her body and the meter begins to fill.

I mean, it’s whatever — this is an anime fanservice RPG and a super-competent dungeon crawler, and the recruitment process is definitely unlike anything I’ve seen in any other RPG. I don’t remember rubbing down Tifa or seductively/virtually caressing Barret’s bulging muscles, do you?

Regardless, it’s just not fun. It was weird to do around people (for the record, my girlfriend thought it was hilarious when I’d turn my back to my mother while playing in her front room) and definitely crafted with the touchscreen in mind. You can use a controller, moving a cursor around with the left analog stick and mashing a button to poke and prod, but it zooms across the screen if a direction is held for too long.

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I mostly played Moero Chronicle Hyper in handheld mode and movement within dungeons is noticeably slower but doesn’t impact the game at all since the combat is menu-based. I didn’t notice any difference in combat, during dialogue scenes, or while “recruiting” new party members with the tip of my finger. I definitely had an easier time in handheld, especially with recruiting, but it does support the Pro Controller if TV mode is more your speed. Just know the recruiting mini-game kinda sucks and is infinitely easier using the touchscreen.

visuals1 Visuals: 7/10

While the dungeons aren’t necessarily stellar, the character designs and illustrations are fantastic. With loads of monster girls to recruit, they’re all fantastically represented with high-resolution illustrations thanks to manga artist Katsuyuki Hirano (Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force, Monster Monpiece, Record of Agarest War).

Monster designs weren’t equally impressive, devolving into basic palette swaps by the end of the game. Given Moero Chronicle Hyper’s sexualization, they were certainly interesting takes on RPG monster tropes — a golem made of condoms and a fighting bear with striped panties on their head, for instance.

Compile Heart games always have remarkable character designs and this one is no different. As a first-person dungeon crawler, most of your time will be spent looking at pictures of girls during storyboard dialogue scenarios and then monsters while battling within dungeons. I don’t think environmental designs weigh so heavily in a dungeon crawler and there are none of them here that I’d classify as bad (there are forests, temples, space, and snow-covered forests to explore).

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audio Audio: 5/10

Another unusual complaint I have for a Compile Heart game is Moero Chronicle Hyper’s forgettable soundtrack. It’s not bad, it’s just… there.

Compile Heart and Idea Factory usually have some real bangers in their OSTs (another recent title of theirs, Death End Re;Quest, has a great selection of tracks) but I can’t remember a single song after 20 hours.

I guess it’s the epitome of “average,” so a 5/10 will suffice.

challenge Challenge: 9/10

Dungeon crawlers are known for their punishing challenge and Moero Chronicle Hyper is no different… if you play on the higher difficulty setting. The default option provides a solid challenge as well and really tested my party building ability (and my XP grinding patience!). There were some boss encounters that required a different approach altogether, which meant frequent trips back to Sekriend to adjust my party (*shakes fist*).

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Moero isn’t as thoroughly challenging as something like Mind=0 or Stranger of Sword City, the latter of which is likely the most difficult dungeon crawler I’ve ever played, but it’s still notably tougher than your run-of-the-mill JRPG.

I rate the challenge so highly because it’s not just equally tough and fair, but super accessible on its easier setting. Anyone looking to dip their toes into the dungeon crawler subgenre of RPGs can get a real sense of what to expect, either in other games or even the default setting. It’s just a matter of whether or not the plethora of anime boobies and thongs are offputting. To tiddy or not to tiddy.

replayability Replayability: 7/10

With monster girls to recruit and affinity levels to build, there’s certainly a good amount of meat to chew on (especially for the game’s generous $19.99 USD price tag).

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You can also load your clear data after the credits roll and unlock new areas in each of the six dungeons, complete with more powerful monster girls to recruit. I didn’t see a NG+ option, so I’m not sure what the benefit is, but I was still ready for more dungeon crawling when it was over and happily dove back in.

uniqueness Uniqueness: 7/10

Moero Chronicle Hyper isn’t shy about blending adult fanservice with the age-old dungeon crawler, and it does both rather well. I’ve never experienced a recruitment process like this in any other RPG, despite finding it annoying, and I thought Io’s role as more of a secondary player was actually pretty clever. He’s afraid to talk to girls, after all, so it makes sense that he’d sit on the sidelines and provide more of a supporting role to his harem.

It may not offer anything new in terms of environmental designs, but distinguishing such a massive roster of monster girls with some really crisp illustrations is definitely worthy of praise.

This is a bit more than an average dungeon crawler, it’s just a matter of being interested in the subject matter.

mypersonalgrade My Personal Grade: 7/10

While I may not be the target market for anime fanservice, I am a big RPG guy and do enjoy some of the more approachable dungeon crawlers. Moero Chronicle Hyper falls into the latter quite nicely and its deep party system sank its claws into me pretty deeply.

If I was using my Switch out in the wild, I was grinding XP in a dungeon (and avoiding the awkward screen-rubbing mini-game as much as possible). Waiting at the kitchen table for dinner to finish cooking in the oven? Grinding. Can’t fall asleep? Grinding. Going to the bathr— you know, I think you get the idea. The Switch’s portability pretty much rules.

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I know I’ve said this a few times already, but this is a solid dungeon crawler. I’m no stranger to reviewing these types of fanservice-heavy games either (having done Gal*Gun, Punchline, and a few others).

Seeing anime boobs and butts don’t bother me, but it’s not something I look for in an Idea Factory-published title. I like their games because their development team at Compile Heart are never afraid to try new things, they provide enjoyable stories and characters and usually have great music. Most of that was absent, but I just happened to have a lot of fun with the RPG systems at play to the point where I never really cared about anything else.

Aggregate Score: 6.4

 

Bradley Keene is the Middle-aged Horror Mage and a self-proclaimed JRPG and horror game junkie. He’s a Baltimore native that can be brutally murdered in Puppet Combo’s ’80s-inspired slasher game Christmas Massacre as an NPC and goes by the nickname Trash online as a tribute to his favorite Return of the Living Dead character. Follow him on Twitter @Trashlevania for food pics, Final Fantasy VIII port begging, and Japanese wrestling nonsense!

 

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